Germany’s Constantin Film has been awarded the Federal Film Board’s Branchentiger prize for the top local producer and distributor of 2019. This is the 13th consecutive year that the Resident Evil and Perfect Strangers maker has won the award. With it comes 3.1M euros in funding for seven new in-house productions as well as 600K euros towards distribution. The funds are generated based on the success of the company’s titles during the year which included Perfect Strangers. The film was the highest grossing local picture of 2019 and has continued to play in the country’s drive-ins throughout the lockdown where it is currently No. 1 amongst those cinemas with 44,488 tickets sold between April 22 and May 13. Constantin CEO Martin Moszkowicz tells Deadline, “I am really delighted about this award as it is a strong compliment for our producers, filmmakers and the whole Constantin Film team for a great achievement for the last years. We are very honored to be working with the most successful creatives in Germany.”
The UK’s Screen Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have joined forces to create a new Indie TV and Film Development Fund to support production companies in Leeds. Totaling £200K, the fund will distribute awards of between £2,500 and £25,000, to help TV and film outfits develop new content. It’s funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the LEP through its new Creative Catalyst program which was established in response to Channel 4’s relocation to Leeds and broadcaster commitment to increase commissioning in the Nations and Regions. Screen Yorkshire will lead the application and assessment process in collaboration with representatives from the LEP. The fund is open to indie companies with a substantive base in Leeds City Region who can demonstrate a proven track record in productions that have been broadcast (nationally or internationally) and/or commercially distributed. The intervention comes in the wake of a two-month suspension for all production activity during the COVID-19 lockdown and directly responds to the government’s advice earlier this week, announcing that filming can re-start, subject to producers following the new industry approved safety guidelines.
Fremantle is teaming up with audio company Acast to launch podcasts in Australia. The partnership will begin with true-crime series Chasing Charlie, which debuts on May 18 and features private detective Julia Robson telling the story of her eight-year search for a sadistic conman. Chris Oliver-Taylor, Fremantle CEO, Asia-Pacific, says, “This is a natural progression for Fremantle’s Australian team to link with Acast to bring our innovative programming and production techniques to the world of podcasting.”
ViacomCBS’s ad-funded streaming service Pluto TV is expanding in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by adding 24 new channels to its offering. The channels will showcase ViacomCBS content, including SpongeBob Squarepants and Victorious, and grows Pluto TV’s footprint to 75 channels in total. The growth will be supported by a local ad campaign. “This a major step in pushing Pluto TV to the next level,” says Olivier Jollet, managing director of Pluto TV in Europe.